Cody Schoeler’s Week 12 NFL West Power Rankings

Posted on November 23, 2022




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  By Cody Schoeler, SuperWest Sports

IIt’s Thanksgiving, so you know what that means.

This means walking in a circle and saying what you are grateful for.

i will start I am grateful that the two western sections are interesting.

Sure, some of the teams’ entertainment value may not come in the form of good football teams (Cardinals, Broncos, and Rams), but at least they’re interesting.

These sections can be like south sections and can be boring.

So I’m thankful that wasn’t the case. Since it’s hard for you as a reader to make it to the next round (feel free to answer in the comments), we’ll go down to the next eight western teams.

Since we can’t actually ask the teams themselves (because they don’t respond to my texts), I’ll present what I think each team will choose as reasons to be thankful, along with their weekly position in the power rankings. .


1. Kansas City Chiefs (8-2-0)

Reason to be thankful: Being the best player in sports

It is quite simple.

When you’re in your prime like Patrick Mahomes, a player who’s locked in nearly a billion-dollar contract for the next billion years, you thank anyone who’s listening.

chiefs espnHe did it again Sunday, throwing for 329 yards and three touchdowns in a 30-27 win over the Chargers.

Mahomes led another “did they leave too much time on the clock” drive to win the game.

And spoiler alert, the answer is always Yes. If there’s still time on the clock, then you’ve got plenty of time for Mahomes (just ask the Bills).

Leaders, of course, have plenty of other reasons to be grateful.

afc west logo e1663126465795Tight end Travis Kelce is still dominating the league. Defensive back Chris Jones destroys the interior of plays. Rookie running back Isaiah Pacheco looks like a steal.

They are the family member who kills it in life and spends a lot of time at the dinner table celebrating all the things they are thankful for.

We get it, Kansas City, you’re still very good and the best player in the league. Now shut up and pass the mashed potatoes.


2. San Francisco 49ers (6-4-0)

Reason to be thankful: A wide-open NFC playoff picture

GThey are proud of the 49ers for being optimistic with their answer to the question.

49ers espnWith so many things going wrong this year, such as quarterback Trey Lance’s season-ending injury, and some bad losses he wishes could be reversed, it’s nice to see that they can still look on the bright side of things.

And their reason for gratitude is a pretty good one (and not just because I made it myself).

In many other seasons, things that went wrong could have derailed their season. But the 49ers are still in the conference, especially after their big 38-10 win over the Cardinals.

Despite a very controversial season and a decent 6-4 record, despite the Jimmy Garoppolo quarterback move, San Francisco is still one of the favorites in the NFC.

nfc west logo 1The 49ers obviously have that to thank. But they also have the Packers, Buccaneers, Rams and Cardinals to thank for taking big steps back this year.

They even have the Eagles to thank for losing to the Chiefs and then playing a close game against the Colts.

It’s up to you whether or not you take advantage of this opportunity, but having it in the first place is reason enough to be thankful.


3. Seattle Seahawks (6-4-0)

Reason to be thankful: The revival of Geno Smith

TThe Seahawks may indeed have more reasons to be grateful than any other team in the West except for the Chiefs.

seahawks espnThis was supposed to be a rebuilding year for them, but it wasn’t to be for many reasons.

Obviously, quarterback Geno Smith was the biggest reason. Unlike the lackluster Lions game on Thanksgiving morning, no one saw Smith improve this year.

He established the team as a legitimate threat to make the postseason and earned some buzz for several awards.

Everyone was, and still is, waiting for Smith’s hot start to wear off. Smith is just fine. He proves the right to believe in head coach Pete Carroll and the rest of the organization when no one else does.

nfc west logo 1Now, normally you only say something that you’re grateful for, but the Seahawks are saying something else because people are happy with how they showed up this year.

Reason Two: They could get a second straight Top 10 pick from the Broncos.

And that’s just the whipped cream on top of the pumpkin pie.


4. Los Angeles Chargers (5-5-0)

Reason to be thankful: Austin Ekeler repeats 2021

TThe Chargers might have a pretty good reason to be thankful if they were able to beat the Chiefs on Sunday.

chargers espnBut instead, they suffered another close loss to their division rival, 30-27, and fell even further in the standings.

But it’s Thanksgiving and nobody wants to hear sad things, you should be happy.

One reason the Chargers are happy is that running back Austin Ekeler is putting together another great season.

After the departure of Melvin Gordon last year, Ekeler took over full-time running back duties and he rewarded the Chargers with a particularly big season in the form of 20 total touchdowns.

But when this season started, Ekeler looked like a one-year wonder as he struggled out of the gates.

Not so anymore.

Ekeler has scored 11 touchdowns this year, second most in the league.

He also does it at multiple positions, especially in a Los Angeles offense depleted on the offensive line, so the burden on him is even greater.

afc west logo e1663126465795Ekeler’s time as a backup also means he has less mileage in his body than the typical 27-year-old running back, so he can continue to play at that level, which is ideal for a Chargers team trying to tackle who would be as soon as possible.

Yes, things may not be going well for the Chargers this year, but at least this Ekeler job is worth thanking.

They’d better be grateful, because some of the other members at the table (ourselves included) have less to thank.


5. Arizona Cardinals (4-7-0)

Reason to be thankful: A promising young defensive duo

IIn some parallel universe where Thanksgiving is spent giving things not to be thankful for, the cardinals will talk so long that everyone else at the table falls asleep.

arizona cardinals espnBut in this universe where Thanksgiving is all about being thankful for things, the Cardinals will keep it short.

Instead of talking about how the whole Kyler Murray situation is a mess, or how Kliff Kingsbury is better at picking cool houses than coaching the football, or how the defense is falling apart, the Cardinals are going to talk about some of their promising young quarterbacks.

While the 49ers couldn’t be slowed in Monday’s 38-10 loss to the Cardinals, linebackers Zaven Collins and Isaiah Simmons are showing signs of life.

This is a franchise that has spent back-to-back years on first-round picks on off-ball players, so they need them to work.

Collins, in his second season, is second on the team in tackles and has two sacks while starting each game.

nfc west logo 1Simmons still has a ways to go, though the clock is ticking on the third-year player. He’s showing big-play ability this year with a pick-six, two forced fumbles and two sacks.

There aren’t many bright spots on this Cardinals team, and honestly, they’ll just be grateful if they can get through the season without someone in the organization completely breaking down.


6. Las Vegas Raiders (3-7-0)

Reason to be thankful: The Davante Adams trade was a success

TIt is impossible to read about the Raiders.

raiders espnSome weeks they look like the worst team in the west. Other weeks they look like a pretty good team.

One thing that is consistent about the team is that wide receiver Davante Adams is really good.

Giving up a ton of assets to a buyer is always a gamble because you never know how it will turn out to be a new system. But Adams translated very well, recording 925 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Based on how the Packers have collapsed offensively this year, it’s also clear that he’s worth more than he’s been given credit for in the past.

Unfortunately, one thing he doesn’t bring with him from Green Bay is winning.

afc west logo e1663126465795The Raiders are still fighting for a win, though, thanks to Adams’ touchdown in beating the Broncos 22-16 in overtime.

This team has a lot to figure out heading into next season.

One thing the Raiders won’t have to worry about is finding a No. 1 receiver, as they have one of the best in the league.


7. Denver Broncos (3-7-0)

Reason to be thankful: Next year will probably be better

EMany a Thanksgiving table has a person muttering a one-word response like “family” when it’s their turn to give thanks.

Denver espnAnd the people behind the table just let the non-police response slide because they know things are rough for this guy.

That person is the Broncos.

They had a chance to prove they were better with a win against the Raiders, but ultimately blew it, losing 22-16 in overtime.

Yes, the reason Denver is thankful now is that next season will be better. You know what they say about rock bottom, the only way to go is up.

But realistically, the Broncos are facing a lot of worst-case scenarios this year, which probably won’t be the case next season.

Quarterback Russell Wilson is playing the worst football of his life, hopefully it doesn’t extend into next season.

Running back JaVonte Williams, along with several other players, are out for the season but will be back next year.

afc west logo e1663126465795Head coach Nathaniel Hackett seems completely in over his head as a first-year head coach, and he won’t be a first-year head coach until at least next year.

You can’t know what to be thankful for without suffering a little pain.

While this may sound like sewing a throw pillow for your grandma’s couch to use for your post-Thanksgiving dinner, it’s also incredibly true for the Broncos season this year.


8. Los Angeles Rams (3-7-0)

Reason to be thankful: It worked last year

Ssometimes you don’t need words to express your gratitude. Just a lift of the hand to show off a new piece of luxury jewelry.

la rams espnAnd the ring of Aries does not represent a holy matrimonial commitment, but rather justifies their “influence of their choice” strategy.

With everything falling apart around the Rams this season, like Sunday’s 27-20 loss to the Saints, they can at least turn to quarterback Matthew Stafford and say “at least we won the Super Bowl.”

Though Stafford wouldn’t have enough time to say that sentence before he was fouled by an opposing pass rusher.

Things have gone very badly for the Rams this year, and it’s only going to get worse.

nfc west logo 1While they don’t have a first-round pick this year, probably very early in the draft, they do have a Lombardi trophy.

There’s always someone living in the past at the Thanksgiving table, even though it’s usually in the past.

Aries is that person and everyone will smile, nod and agree with them and let them revel in their nostalgia.


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